In our recent entry about HR78 and Congressional Corruption, we wondered why the media isn’t reporting on such an obvious unconstitutional and corrupt act as allowing non-members of Congress to act as a full members (passed along party lines 226-191). As usual, the MSM is quite selective on what they report (don’t expect to see a 60 minutes story), but at least a few other blogs are beginning to take notice. Mary Katherine Ham (of HamNation) has an entry, and George Will wrote about it Sunday.
Perhaps Democrats will be forced by the spotlight to cancel their vote-stuffing attempt.
For background on this issue, see yesterday’s entry HR 78 – Democrats and Washington’s Culture of Corruption Continues.
Here’s what George Will has to say:
If these five votes decide the outcome of a vote in the Committee of the Whole, the matter at issue will be automatically revoted by the full House without those five participating. Still, these five faux members will have powers equal to those of real members on everything but final passage of bills, which often is more perfunctory than the process that leads to that. Almost always, all five delegates are Democrats. (Puerto Rico’s current resident commissioner is the first Republican in 100 years.)
Members of Congress today represent, on average, 687,000 people. The population of Guam is 171,000; of American Samoa, 58,000; and of the Virgin Islands, 109,000. The 3.9 million Puerto Ricans are U.S. citizens and have the right to vote for statehood, which they have rejected in three plebiscites (1967, 1993, 1998).
The 58,000 Samoans pay no federal income taxes, but their delegate will be able to participate in raising the taxes of, say, Montanans. Samoa’s delegate will have virtually the same power as Rep. Denny Rehberg, who represents all 944,000 Montanans. Obviously the Democrats’ reverence for the principle “one person, one vote” is, well, situational.
Even though they’re giving away votes, if votes from these non-members actually decide an issue, they won’t count! But as George Will notes, in all other areas these non-member members will have full rights. And since most of the real work is done in committee, these non-member members actually carry a lot of power, and increase the Democrat majority.
No matter how you cut it, this is unconstitutional as it violates Article I Section 2 of The Constitution:
No Person shall be a Representative who shall not have attained to the Age of twenty five Years, and been seven Years a Citizen of the United States, and who shall not, when elected, be an Inhabitant of that State in which he shall be chosen.
This isn’t the first time Democrats have tried to stuff the House vote box, but we’ll have to wait to see if they repeal it as news of their folly surfaces. Speaker Pelosi promised to run an ethical Congress; I’m sure when she hears about this she’ll reverse it (well, maybe not as she voted for it).
Most ethical Congress? A return to rule of law? I think not.